Does Your Company Spend Too Much Time on Social Media?
There’s no denying that social media marketing, whether organic or paid, promises immense opportunity for a company to grow and build awareness around its business and even drive qualified sales. Too often, though, “strategic” does not describe how companies approach their social media presence and as a result, they will incorrectly assess ROI (Return On Investment) for their social media marketing efforts. Although the impact of social media on your business COULD be huge, this raises two very important questions. WHY is your company on social media and does your company spend TOO MUCH TIME on social media?
SETTING GOALS AND BUILDING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
There are a lot of reasons why companies want to be present on social media and why they invest an increasing amount of resources to keep that presence relevant. The “why” for one company, though, isn’t necessarily the same for the next. It comes down to identifying your social media strategy, setting goals for the resources you’ve committed there and understanding the ROI you hope to achieve. So, before we can address the question of whether your company spends too much time and resources on social media, let’s try and understand why you’re there in the first place.
VANITY: USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF
This is a big one so let’s go ahead and get it out of the way. Just like Millenials who love posting over-the-top selfies on their Instagram accounts, companies often engage on social media simply to feel good about themselves. It’s vanity. You may not be posting selfies or artistic lay flat photographs of your team lunch, but companies like to show off their successes and awards on social media so everyone else can see them. It’s just like everyone’s vacation photo album on Facebook that shows all the highlights and leaves out the part where you got food poisoning or had to spend six extra hours at the airport. Vanity actually drives corporate interest in social media all the way from the c-suite to the entry level employees and this isn’t to suggest it’s a bad reason to be on social. If vanity is the main driver behind your social media strategy, though, sit down and have a hard look at the resources you invest into those communication channels.
BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Sometimes corporate vanity social media strategies are justified by saying they’re building brand awareness. Building brand awareness, though, goes much further than posting your wins and conference appearances on Twitter. A social media strategy focused on building brand awareness goes far beyond scheduling company posts for the week and making sure they incorporate key messaging and values for your organization. This strategy usually includes a clever balance of organic and paid posts with very careful attention to your target audience. Most companies don’t want to build brand awareness with everyone. They want to build brand awareness with the right people. That also means committing the time to engaging directly with those individuals and channels on social media. This strategy takes greater investment, time and patience (especially if you’re building awareness from scratch), but in the long run it can and has spelled great success for many companies.
DRIVING TRAFFIC WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Companies like Keywee make their fortunes helping corporations and content providers drive traffic to their websites from social media and they can drive oceans of traffic from platforms like Facebook. That comes with a cost, though. If driving traffic from social media is a key goal for your company, you need to make sure it remains at the core of every post.
Include prominent links in all posts when necessary. If a post doesn’t include a link, should you be posting it?
Make content as clickable as possible to make it easy for your audience to get back to your website.
Push link clicks and traffic to the top of your ROI measurements.
Learn how to boost posts like a pro. Organic social posts will rarely drive the traffic you want.
Consider whether you should really be spending time on Instagram which doesn’t prioritize web traffic.
And of course, include excellent CTA (Calls to Action) to give your audience a reason to click.
It’s common for many companies that say they want to drive traffic to frequently omit links from their social posts and continue to track measurements like Reach and Engagement instead of Clicks and Traffic. If this is your main goal, take the time to build systems to measure that traffic as well as conversions so you identify what is working and double down there. If you don’t, then you’re just playing on social media all day.
PROVIDING CUSTOMER SUPPORT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This is a big one and can often go a long way to building brand loyalty, awareness and referrals. Really providing customer support on social media means more than checking in on the platform to see if you’ve had any mentions in the last few hours. Social media, whether justifiably or not, promises a certain level of immediacy. If you want to provide your customers with a high level of support, you need staff committed to monitoring social more than eight hours a day. You also need to make sure the people monitoring social have the training and insight they need to provide that support and solve problems for your customers. If you constantly have to pull in three or four extra people to respond to a single Tweet, your ROI will often flop when you take into account the working hours and disruptions that causes. But, do you remember the time you Tweeted at an airline during a delay and they got right back to you? Doing customer support right on social media can go a long way and your customers remember it.
LEVERAGING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR HIRING AND RECRUITMENT
LinkedIn has long been the default social media account handed over to the Human Resources team to manage, but that’s a mistake. If your company is constantly recruiting, you should consider incorporating HR into your broader social media strategy. Fancy photographs of fun team lunches may fall into the vanity bucket above, but when you leverage your next post to encourage people to join your team, that begins to build some synergy. Your company can use social media to show what a great place it is to work and recruit new people. You’ll probably be surprised how many shares you’ll get on a new job listing post compared to your other organic posts as well. If this is part of your strategy, make sure you learn to measure it beyond social as well, though. Make sure you have a question in the application process to learn exactly where someone first learned about the job opportunity… or fine tune your Google Analytics to tell you directly.
IS YOUR COMPANY SPENDING ENOUGH TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Now the real question. Once you’ve set your goals, know what you want to accomplish and understand the ROI you hope to achieve, are the resources your company devotes to social media enough to get the job done? Or do they far outweigh what you’re actually getting out of those channels? Once social media platforms exploded, brand new job postings popped up looking for social media managers, a position that didn’t exist before. In many cases, someone on staff would be tasked with managing the company’s social accounts in addition to their other job and maybe eventually full time. But do you need a single person managing your company’s social media accounts full time, a team of people or are you really getting any ROI from your investments in social media? All of that depends on your goals, your strategy and what your really want to achieve. It also means taking a hard look at your analytics to make sure you’re measuring the right things and getting the best ROI from your social media marketing strategy.